It’s back—and this time, Momo appears to be targeting an even younger audience.
The “Momo challenge” is an internet suicide game where a grotesque female face gives instructions to use the messaging platform WhatsApp to communicate with a contact who encourages violence and ultimately suggests the user commit suicide.
The challenge made headlines last summer, but in recent weeks, it’s resurfaced, with parents reporting their kids discovered suicide instructions sandwiched between popular cartoons and videos—leading authorities to issue a new warning for parents to be on the lookout for the dangerous content.
Reports say the disturbing doll has been seen on YouTube Kids, a platform that is geared towards children and designed to give them a safer online viewing experience. According to the Manchester Evening News, a school in the U.K. noticed the images, telling parents that, “These video clips are appearing on many social media sites and YouTube (including Kids YouTube). One of the videos starts innocently, like the start of a Peppa Pig episode for example, but quickly turn into an altered version with violence and offensive language.”
Authorities say the endgame for the hackers behind Momo and other disturbing “games”—in addition to terrorizing children and teens—is to collect and exploit their personal information.
It’s just another reminder for the necessity of parents to monitor their kids’ online activities—and keep an open dialogue within their families about any disturbing or unusual content kids and teens come across.